Matt Rossiter’s 5 tips for making the most of camp

Whether you’re going on camp with your university or with the GB team, Matt Rossiter has some great tips for how to get the most out of your trip

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Matt Rossiter at World Cup III in Lucerne in 2017 - Naomi Baker

Hello everyone, I’m Matt Rossiter from the Great Britain Rowing Team and I’m writing this from our high altitude and temperature camp in Namibia. We spend quite a lot of time away on camp – this is our second camp of about seven this year. Whether your camp is with your club, school, university or country, I hope I can provide you with some useful insights for how to get the most out of your camp.

1. Have a good think about what you want to take

I’m sure you’ll know roughly what the weather’s going to be like so knowing what kit to take is the easy bit. It’s the other bits that you’ll really appreciate. Have a think about what you’d like to do in between sessions and in the evenings. Maybe bring a speaker, puzzle, book, boxset, card game like Monopoly Deal or even a Wii. My crewmate Rory Gibbs always brings his Wii to Portugal and we have some absolutely epic Mario Kart races. If you’re a bit fussy when it comes to eating think about taking some of your favourite food with you.

I get really nasty blisters so make sure you bring lots of supplies for if yours flare up: I recommend Sudocream, lots of tape and some nice thick moisturiser. Some other random bits I always bring include a plug adaptor (with multiplug), hydration powder or tablets, some apple squash, recovery protein, ibuprofen, coffee, metal cafetiere, thermos coffee mug, washing powder and my own pillow.

Matt and his crewmates on camp in Aviz, 2019. Credit Nick Middleton

Matt and his crew on camp in Aviz in 2019. Credit Nick Middleton

2. Make the most of the extra time you have

When you’re training hard at home it often feels like life is seriously hectic. On camps you’ll spend lots of time training but also have lots more free time. Being away from the daily rush of life can give you time to get things in order and under control again. Try to use the extra time you have to do the things you’ve wanted or needed to do for ages. If you’re studying it’s a great chance to catch up on work or revision, or catch up on some admin you’ve been putting off for ages. Or if you’re my brother (George Rossiter) you can work through all 18 Marvel films, in the correct order!

3. Get some good team bonding in

Having a bit more downtime on camp means that you can really enjoying hanging out with teammates when you don’t have to rush off to work, university or school. Hands down my favourite time of the day is after dinner when you can kick back, chat nonsense and share stories with some of the guys in the team. I think if you’re on camp before a big campaign like Henley or BUCS coming together as a crew off the water can make a massive difference on it!

4. Decent time with your coach

As I’ve said above, in normal life everyone is whizzing around and there’s often no time to have proper time with your coach. On camp there’s lots of time to really talk things through one on one or as a crew. I think it’s really impactful to have a good chat before a session to set the goals for that session, then debriefing afterwards to talk through what went well and what needs to be worked on for the next session. I was in the GB men’s four last summer and something we did really well was have evening meetings. You’re very calm as you’ve not just come off the water and you can chat things through, watch some video and really get to grips with what needs to happen going forward.

5. Up your recovery game

It’s highly likely that you’ll be doing an increased amount of training on camp so make sure you’re allowing your body to recover accordingly. Try to eat well, lots of proper food including fruit and veg, drink lots of water or electrolytes. Don’t worry about being perfect though, everyone needs some naughties on those really hard days. Camp can also be a time to catch up on sleep – I often grab a 60 minute nap after lunch, then try to get 8 hours at night. You’re putting your body under lots of stress through the training and if you don’t allow it to recover well enough you might not make the gains you were hoping for.

GB men's four. Credit Nick Middleton
GB men’s four win gold at the 2019 European Championships. Credit Nick Middleton

All in all, try to enjoy training camp as much as you can. It’s a pretty amazing opportunity to be working with other people towards one common goal. Train hard and I wish you all the best for the rest of the season.

Follow Matt’s journey on Instagram @rossiboy2 

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